Community Engagement Teacher

Erica Portell is a native of Indiana and her early training was in Russian-style ballet at the Jordan Academy of Butler University and with Indianapolis Ballet Company. As a teen she also studied with accomplished Broadway dancer Billy Kersey in New York City. Her dance training continued under Lou Ann Young at Ball State University, focusing on the Cecchetti Ballet syllabus.  While in college, Portell discovered ballroom dancing, and trained with Blackpool Ballroom Champion trainer Chuck Mason. She is an accomplished competitor in Professional American Rhythm and has competed and taught extensively throughout the U.S., Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. She has performed with Royal Caribbean cruises, was a guest artist with Indiana University and Purdue University Moving Company, and was a featured performer on Sabor y Salsa Mexico Open Dance Sport Championship, which aired in Mexico.

Portell has been teaching dance for over 20 years, and has been the Dance Director of several large commercial dance studios. She founded the dance program at Dodge City Community College in Kansas, directed The Alley hip-hop troupe, and founded the “Dance as Fitness” program in Southwest Kansas. She has also coached several students to spots on The Indiana Pacemates, Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders, and the semi-finals of “So You Think You Can Dance.” Portell has completed Dance for Parkinson’s Disease training with David Leventhal and Mark Morris Dance Company, and currently teaches OKC Ballet’s Dance for Parkinson’s classes at the Susan E. Brackett Dance Center.  She also teaches for OKC Ballet’s community engagement program BalletReach.  She is an American Ballet Theatre® Fellowship Teacher, who has completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum and has successfully presented students for examinations for at least three consecutive years.

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